Eugene, Oregon is an extremely bike-friendly city. Nearly every main street is equipped with a bike lane for easy commuting.
However, if you would like a slightly more scenic route, the Willamette River bike trail runs east-west along both sides of the river for roughly 6 miles. This trail includes 4 bridges (bikers and runners only) that cross the river, making it easy to ride on both banks.
An easy way to find the trail, is simply go to the north end of downtown and locate Skinnerï¿½s Butte. The base of the Butte (on the north end) is located just 100 meters from the halfway point of the
south bank trail. One last note, you better watch your speed if you ride the trail on a nice weekend, as hundreds of Eugene natives gather by the river for picnics and relaxation!
If you are into running, Eugene has all the bases covered, and then some! They donï¿½t call this place "TrackTown USA" for nothing. Eugene has a rich running tradition, built around the University of Oregonï¿½s track and cross-country teams of the past, as well as being the host for several USA Track and Field Championships over the years. As youï¿½ll see, there is enough here to keep any runner occupied.
For the more serious runner, this section will be broken down into 3 sections: hills, intervals, and distance. This can guide you to the run that best fits your workout schedule.
Hills: If you are looking for a thigh burning, gut wrenching hill workout, there are a couple of places in Eugene to facilitate such a thing.
First of all, just north of downtown is Skinnerï¿½s Butte Park. Although only ï¿½ of a mile to the top of Skinnerï¿½s Butte, it is definitely a challenging run (especially after logging 6 or so miles on the bike path).
On the other side of town is Mount Pisgah, which is a 10-minute drive southeast of Eugene. It has several winding, bark-chip trails, as well as a 2-mile stretch of gravel road that takes you all the way to the summit (1,500-ft). This is a great place to log 3 or 4 miles, while catching a view of the Cascade Mountains from the top of Pisgah.
In addition, if you want to pound the pavement, simply run south on Willamette St. When you hit 30th Ave, thatï¿½s when the fun begins! For the next few miles, there should be plenty of hills to satisfy your cravings. If not, 4 miles south of town via Willamette St. (near 52nd), is the large, open parking lot that feeds several trailheads atop Spencer’s Butte (Eugeneï¿½s highest point 2,052 feet). The runnable (yet rugged) Ridgeline Trail (5 miles) offers runners looks at various
trees and wildlife. Lastly, Hendricks Park located at the southeastern edge of the U of O campus includes several inclines (about 250-300m), perfect for hill repeats.
Intervals: You couldnï¿½t ask for anything more! Eugene has two of the best places in the Pacific Northwest to run interval workouts.
First, is the Amazon Trail located at Hilyard St. and 27th Ave. The running surface is consists of impeccably maintained bark dust, which is easy on the knees and other joints. The trail offers a 1000 meter base loop with markers every 100 meters, with 1,200m, 1,500m and 1-mile extensions. This is an excellent alternative to running track
workouts (actually I prefer Amazon to a track).
Second, is one of the world’s most famous tracks, Hayward Field (located at Agate and 15th Aves.). This is home to the legendary Coos Bay, OR native Steve Prefontaine who ran for U of O in the late 60ï¿½s and early 70ï¿½s. It’s open to the public (except when the U of O Track Team is practicing). The track has recently been resurfaced, and is host to the 1999 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (June 24 ï¿½ June 27). Being able to run on the same track as some of the worldï¿½s finest runners is a pretty unique experience.
Distance: If you simply want to grind out a few miles with some decent scenery, run down to Alton Baker Park (near Autzen Stadium). The lower third of the trail runs through a wooded area, which contains the 4-mile-long, bark-dust-paved Pre’s Trail (parts of which are somewhat isolated). In addition, you can run along the bike path mentioned above (just across the bridge from Alton Baker Park). Lastly, the Rexius Trail is located just south of Amazon and is a fairly new trail.
A point of reference, the Eugene Outdoor Recreation Center can provide maps of most running trails in Eugene (541-687-5329).
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our North America Insiders page.